WINEMAKING: What Does a Winemaker Do?

Grape Field 81 300x225 WineMaking (Part II) – What Does a Winemaker Do?

Winemaking; I often get asked two questions: What does a winemaker do, and how did I become an Icewine specialist?

To answer the first question I usually respond with, “Which part of the word; “wine maker” don’t you understand”? Not very helpful, I know, but in truth the answer is so complex and requires much more detail that I am guessing most people really want to know.

To answer the second is a longer story and through the years at The Ice House Winery and in my writings, I will attempt to address both questions in detail over time.

To begin, if you want to be a winemaker, it helps when given, at a far too early stage in life, the choice between arts and science to have chosen to follow the sciences. It is the foundation.

For me the foundation of winemaking was biology.  Unbeknownst to me at the time the nuts and bolts of winemaking are botany, biochemistry, microbiology and chemistry.   So, on my pathway to becoming a winemaker, I graduated from Queen’s University without any inkling of winemaking as a career (nor in fact any inkling of a career period). I then attended Laval University to study French.  With “une petite peu” of French and a connection through some friends I went to work the vendage in St Aubin, Burgundy chez Hubert Lamy.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was the beginnings of my winemaking career.